COVID-19 & Slovenia, Night April 6: Some Firms May Open After Easter, Farmers Issue Warning

By , 06 Apr 2020, 21:04 PM Politics
COVID-19 & Slovenia, Night April 6: Some Firms May Open After Easter, Farmers Issue Warning Patricija Selič, via Tam Tam

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We can’t have pictures of COVID-19 every day. So instead we’ll try and show the works of Slovenian artists. Today it’sPatricija Selič, with one of series of posters organised by Tam Tam, with the rest here.

Contents

Some industries could be restarted after Easter holidays

Retail chamber hopes shops could reopen after Easter

Farm organisations urge measures to mitigate damage to sector

Vast majority of drivers stick to inter-municipal travel ban

Some industries could be restarted after Easter holidays

STA, 6 April 2020 - The government is preparing measures to enable some industries in Slovenia to relaunch their operations immediately after the Easter holidays if the current trend in the number of persons diagnosed with Covid-19 continues, government spokesman Jelko Kacin announced on Monday.

"The government could examine as early as this week measures which would enable the re-start of certain branches of industry already after the Easter holidays, if this positive trend continues," Kacin said.

He explained that the positive trend meant that there was no excessive, or no increase at all over the holidays in the number of patients who needed hospital care, intensive care in particular.

Asked by the press what measures these could be, Kacin said that coordination meetings were still being held and that the government would need to hold a session on this topic. Once a final decision is made, it will be presented to the public.

He praised citizens for sticking to the restrictive measures, which he said was confirmed by the number of new infections, as it was not increasing as steeply as last week.

"We are not recording a downward trend yet, we are still not in a phase where there are no new infections. So let all of us be patient and hold on for a few more weeks so that we beat the epidemic together," Kacin added.

The government meanwhile continues to discuss additional measures to mitigate the impact of the epidemic on the economy and individuals, with Prime Minister Janez Janša holding a meeting with trade union representatives in Brdo pri Kranju today.

A task force headed by Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj has also met, and the government is also in talks with trade unions about measures in education and welfare, Kacin said, adding that details would be presented tomorrow.

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Retail chamber hopes shops could reopen after Easter

STA, 6 April 2020 - The Slovenian Chamber of Commerce (TZS) hopes the first stores which have been subject to closure since 16 March due to the coronavirus epidemic will reopen after Easter in less than a week. The chamber thus plans to make an assessment of the situation this week and draft a proposal for their reopening.

TZS president Mariča Lah told the STA on Monday that the assessment will take into account the number of Covid-19 patients in the country. "If the situation in the country improves, stores may begin to open. But if it worsens, they will likely have to remain closed."

Allowed to operate under the government decree are grocery stores, stores carrying farming products, pharmacies, petrol stations, as well as banks, postal offices, delivery services, news agents and online stores.

Since 3 April, florist's shops and plant nurseries have also been open, while the government has also allowed construction work to take place on construction sites where builders do not have direct contact with clients.

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Farm organisations urge measures to mitigate damage to sector

STA, 6 April 2020 - Slovenian agriculture organisations have raised concern about "huge" damage to business due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, urging a series of measures on Monday, including curbs on meat imports and increased purchase of produce for national commodity reserves.

Farm organisations from the north-east of the country, the centre of Slovenia's farming sector, report serious disruption in sales of meat, dairy and wine and the damage suffered by complementary activities such as farmsteads.

Citing unofficial information about a surge in meat imports recently, the organisations say that many farms are unable to sell livestock and pigs due to a lack of interest by the purchasers at home and closure of foreign markets.

With foreign markets closing up fast, the organisations also expect excess supply of milk as early as this month, calling for an increase in purchasing by the National Agency for Commodity Reserves.

Sales in the wine sector have all but ground to a halt. On top of that, abundant crop in 2018 and 2019 could leave the Podravje winemakers with enormous surpluses of wine in the autumn, which in turn would send prices tumbling and spell out a wine sector crisis that could last for years.

In a proposal set out on Monday, the organisations are calling for minimum buy-in prices to be set in all the affected sectors, stepping up border controls of meat imports and weekly reporting on the imports. They want a halt on imports of meat and timber.

The organisations are also urging the government to ensure livestock and milk are bought up to increase national commodity reserves, also so that milk could be distributed to groups at risk.

They believe all business subjects in the food chain that are granted state aid due to the pandemic should be made to commit to buying mainly produce, livestock and foodstuffs of Slovenian origin during and after the crisis.

Among other things, they also demand allowances for the loss of income during the epidemic, for farmers to pay VAT only after their invoices are paid, and extending aid for the self-employed to farmers. They moreover disagree with restriction of movement to municipality of residence because it interferes with direct selling.

Similar calls have been addressed to the government by the trade union of Slovenian farmers, among others. The government has been given the discretion to intervene in the agricultural markets in one in the series of laws already passed to mitigate the coronavirus crisis.

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Vast majority of drivers stick to inter-municipal travel ban

STA, 6 April 2020 - The statistics provided by the police shows that a vast majority of drivers respect the ban on non-urgent travel between municipalities, as only 103 drivers out of 3,348 ones checked at the weekend violated it. Mayors of coastal municipalities also report that most of the people stuck to the rule over the weekend.

The police carried out 3,348 checks over the weekend in a campaign involving 139 officers and issued 69 warnings and reporting 34 to the relevant inspectorate, shows a report on the website of the police released on Monday.

The report says that people mostly respect the limitations, while the police frequently take into account the personal circumstances of potential violators. Those who violate the rules out of negligence are sent back home.

The most frequent excuses are visits and care of grandparents, visits to relatives or friends, plumbing work for a friend, gardening work in another municipality or visit to grandchildren.

The report notes that some of the violators said they were looking for protective equipment and that police officers have found that "some drivers are very skilful in justifying their travel during the lockdown".

In the period between 30 March when the measure entered into force and last Sunday, the police have issued 1,366 warnings, and reported 1,574 persons to the Health Inspectorate. There is no statistics on the total number of checks performed.

The mayors of the coastal municipalities, where heavy traffic and gathering of larger groups of people were still recorded at the 28-29 March weekend, report that people mostly stuck to the rules over the last weekend.

Izola Mayor Danilo Markočič told the STA today that "people have respected the instructions and if at all, they went on walks in small groups, mostly families or couples".

Piran Mayor Đenio Zadković, who was among the first to point to visits from other parts of Slovenia to the coast, praised the measure that came after their "emergency call" and also thanked the locals for taking the instruction seriously.

Security services, police and health inspectors did not record any major violations in Koper, either. "People understand and respect the restrictions, which are needed if we want to contain the epidemic," the municipality said.

Italians also rarely cross into Slovenia. The Koper Police Department has told the STA that only a few Italian citizens were recorded daily at the open border crossings, and some of them get rejected.

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